WTA Finals: Top-ranked Simona Halep hoping to keep dream alive

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Williams was on the board in game four with her most potent service game and Pliskova meekly surrendered the advantage with a double fault, only to be outdone by the 37-year-old, whose radar was well off as she lost serve to love.

Venus is also the only former WTA Finals victor playing in Singapore but she will need to come through five tough matches against top-eight opponents in a week if she is to add to her 2008 success with what would be a first title of the season.

World number three Karolina Pliskova believes her experience playing on the Singapore Indoor Stadium's slower court was the catalyst for a crushing straight sets victory over Venus Williams on Sunday.

Opening the tournament, which fields the top eight players, Pliskova - playing her first match under the guidance of new coach Rennae Stubbs - showcased her heavy artillery. That's what I was trying to do today and it worked'. I knew going into the match that she could play unbelievable, so I kind of went in prepared.' 'Here it's important to start with a win and every game counts', Muguruza added.

Yesterday, Pliskova needed three match points to seal the win, and confessed that she had "a little thought" in her head about her last battle with Williams.

Williams was making her debut in Singapore after reaching the WTA Finals for the first time since 2009, when it was played in Doha. "(But) I'm going to fight for that".

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Garcia may be the lowest-ranked player, but she is on an 11-match winning streak after her back-to-back victories in Wuhan and Beijing. Billie Jean King was 39 in 1983 and Martina Navratilova was 38 in 1994. She broke Williams again in the final game of the match.

Halep continued: "I said at the beginning of the year when I heard that Serena was pregnant that now every tournament is open, and we saw that we had [three] different Grand Slam champions and many No. 1s in the world".

The Czech Republic's Pliskova, another of this year's world number ones, said it was impossible to tell who will finish on top next weekend. "Not really, no", she said.

The Red Group will be in action on Monday, with world No. 1 Simona Halep facing Caroline Garcia and Elina Svitolina taking on Caroline Wozniacki.

"I don't know how she felt but I think I was trying to take that advantage that I was here past year".